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Old 01-26-2017, 01:01 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Tincup's premature congratulation

Tincup grabbed the golden ticket from Marvin's hand and consulted the front page of the Morning Advocate. “Five out of six,” he announced, “that's fifteen hundred dollars right there, and you're luckier than a shit house mouse.” He gave it back.

“I knew good things were gonna happen to me at Tincup Billiards, and sure enough they did. Where do I go to get my money? I'll smile all the way back to Houston.”

“Nobody will cash that for you today. Too big. It has to be verified or certified or something like that. You'll have to wait 'til Monday.”

Marvin frowned and looked at Lee, and then at Tincup. “Man, I can't stay here until Monday. If I don't show up for work Monday morning I will lose my job. How about if you buy the ticket from me, and you can cash it Monday? You ain't got nothing better to do.”

Tincup was trying to keep a straight face. “Sure, I'll do that for you. I'll give you eleven hundred for the ticket and you can be on the job bright and early Monday morning.”

“No,” squawked Lee. “Don't give up your cheese, man. Don't let this ugly old man rob you of your ticket!”

Now Tincup looked at me. “Mr. Bill, you wanta buy this ticket off Marvin? He's gotta go to work Monday.” He knew I couldn't raise eleven hundred dollars if I cried my eyes out.

So Marvin and Lee went down to the end of the counter and pow-wowed. They were arguing about the ticket. Lee threw up his hands and turned away, and Marvin came back to Tincup, who had the money fanned out in his hand. “Well, gimme the eleven hundred, you chinchy old bastard. I got to get on the road. I wish I hadn't bought you them toaster waffles.”

The deal was made and I walked the pair to the door and let them out. Tincup put the ticket in his shirt pocket and did a clumsy little dance step by table six. “They's always another way,” he said through a big grin. “If that pair comes back, they better have a gun. I'll skin 'em again!” He was forty bucks ahead for the night, plus at least six toaster waffles with butter and maple syrup.

About this time, the. cleanup man came to the front door and let himself in. His name was Tony, and he was no spring chicken. He had been the cleanup man in more than a few rooms around the country, where he might have been known by other names.

“I seen a car pullin' out. Did you play pool all night? Who was them two, anyway?”

“Couple of children from Houston,” said Tincup. “I had to give up the seven ball just to get a game.”

“Did you go off again, Cup? Yer getting' famous, you are, and they are comin' from all over to play you. Them guys was headed east, and their tag said Alabama. How much did you lose?”

So Tincup recounted the night for Tony, and added, “I went off on the table, but I got well on the lottery.” He explained how he had made the visitors pay for his action, and waved the fifteen-hundred dollar ticket at him.

Tony look at Tincup, and then he looked at me, and then he heaved a great sigh and walked over to table eight, where the game had been. He reached into the rack and picked up the black eight ball. He held it up at arm's length and peered at it for several seconds. Then he wiggled his eyebrows and made some hocus-pocus signs with his free hand and put the ball back on the table.

“Cup, that eight ball just told me that in your shirt pocket you got a ticket for the lottery drawing this Wednesday, with some numbers that would have been good today.” He looked at Tincup for a response.

Tincup kept us waiting for maybe five seconds, and then he took the ticket from his pocket and examined it. He put it back in his pocket, without giving us any hint as to what he had seen. He took a paper napkin from the dispenser on the counter and blew his nose on it, and dropped it gently into the garbage can. He walked to table eight and picked up the offending eight ball and weighed it in his hand. Then he replaced it and took the orange five and tossed it once or twice. This is all in slow motion. Then Tincup jumped into the air and reversed his feet and whirled around like a pitcher going to first base, and fired the five ball across the counter. It went through the drywall like an artillery shell, taking the autographed picture of Buddy Hall with it. In the kitchen it struck with great velocity and set off a loud crash that seemed to go on for a long time. That would be the cups and saucers on the shelf over the sink.

He looked at us, as if for some approval. Then he selected a striped ball – it looked like maybe the fifteen – and hurled it at the bathroom door. It shattered the frosted glass panel on the door and made a similar crashing sound inside the room that also seemed to continue for a time. That would be the mirror over the lavatory.

All the activity made Tincup appear somewhat disheveled so he unbuckled his belt and lowered the zipper and tucked his shirttail in neatly and closed the fly and buckled up. As if Tony and I were not there, he checked his watch and strolled toward the door. He went about ten feet and then turned and came back and took the ticket from his pocket and gave it to Tony, and continued out the front door, locking it carefully behind him. He still had not said a word. We could see his car crossing the lot slowly as he headed for home.

I felt like I had been holding my breath for a long time, and I let it out. “Shit, man,” I said to Tony, who was already gathering up the ashtrays, “I'm glad that's over!”

“Well, it ain't quite over yet, Mr. Bill. It will be over when Tincup comes in on Thursday morning and I tell him I win five hundred on that ticket in the Wednesday drawing. That's when it will be over.”
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.

Last edited by vapros; 01-26-2017 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 01-27-2017, 01:01 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Harry strikes out

Harry Ashcraft was our anchor man, back in 1956; that is, our fifth place bowler. Harry was an engineer. He had a solid game, a sharp haircut, a good job and a new blue Chevrolet with maybe six hundred miles on the clock. He liked for things to go as they were supposed to, and could be a bit peevish when they didn't. In bowling, sometimes they don't.

Morgan Stewart was not at all like Harry. His bowling game was somewhat less than great, but Morgan didn't really care. His hair generally needed trimming, he was blue-collar in his employment and he drove an old Packard that weighed only a bit less than the Senate office building. The rear bumper on the Packard was long gone, and Morgan had replaced it with a hefty length of angle iron. He loved it when things were not going as they were supposed to for Harry, and was not above poking at the sore places now and then.

One Thursday evening, when the league matches were over, which puts the time at a bit more than eleven pm, Morgan fired up the Packard and left the lot. Harry, who was a bit more than peeved at Morgan that night, due to some minor discourteous incidents, fell in right behind him, in his blue Chevrolet, and proceeded to tailgate him around north Baton Rouge. When the car behind you is so close that you can't see his headlights at the stop signs, it is very irritating, and Morgan got pretty irritated before long. He even made a few extra turns on his route, just to be sure.

He turned the Packard back onto North Foster Drive and headed for the big intersection at Florida Boulevard. The light was red, the traffic was very thin, and the tailgater was still snugged up close behind him. Whether he knew it was Harry back there or not was a popular topic of conversation around the Baton Rouge Bowling Center for some time. Anyway, when the light turned green, Morgan shifted into reverse and put the pedal to the metal, as they say, and caved in the front of the Chevrolet like you would not believe. Harry bailed out and went to waving his arms and screaming. Morgan left the Packard and walked around to see the damage, and claimed to be absolutely amazed to discover it was his friend Harry back there.

As you might expect, the commotion attracted a policeman in a patrol car. He parked so as to block traffic and turned on the flashing lights and approached the two bowlers. Harry got in the cop's face immediately.

“I'm stopped for the light, minding my own business,” hollered Harry, “and when the light turned green, this idiot shifted into reverse and rammed my new Chevrolet!” The cop turned to look at Morgan and Morgan rolled his eyes toward Harry.

“That's the worst story I ever heard in my life,” said the cop, and he wrote Harry a pretty long traffic ticket.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:31 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default How Pig Head got his name

This story is about a guy named Pig Head, and the exciting event I will describe to you happened about sixty years ago, a couple of years before I heard the story. I never knew Pig Head, and never knew his last name, but I saw him a few times at the bowling lanes. He had a sizeable dent in his forehead that seemed to be permanent.

In north Baton Rouge, there was an unbroken row of chemical plants that stretched from downtown to the Old Bridge. They were bordered on the west by the river (Mississippi, of course) and on the east by Scenic Highway. Pig Head, whose name was Leo in those days, and his friend Jarvis worked at the Ethyl plant, which was right next to the Esso plant. This was pre-Exxon. Every evening, on their way home, they passed the Devil's Swamp area, which they knew well as a prime place to hunt squirrels. There were wild hogs in there, too – clever and dangerous beasts that intimidated hunters. For some time they had pondered on a good plan to catch one, allowing them to bring home the bacon, so to speak.

So, one weekend Leo and Jarvis took axes and shovels and machetes and went into Devil's Swamp. Nobody had chain saws in 1957, as far as I can recall. Anyway, by Sunday afternoon that had built a small corral that they figured was stout enough to hold a hog, at least for a day or two. There was an opening of about two feet in their wall, and a spring-loaded gate with a trip wire to be sure the hog didn't get away. They baited their trap with a bunch of their household table scraps and other inedibles which figured to attract any respectable hog in the swamp, and they went home, dirty, weary and with high hopes.

Monday evening on their way home, Jarvis wondered aloud whether they should stop at Devil's Swamp to check their trap, but Leo vetoed that, saying it was too soon and anyway they had no weapon to kill the hog even if they had caught one. But, of course they went anyhow, and sure enough there was a small hog in the corral, and the hog was busy rooting at a weak spot in the wall, planning to exit and beat it. It was obvious that they must take the pig now or lose it, but how? Time was getting short; it got dark early in Devil's Swamp, so they made a plan to bushwhack the porker. They scouted around in the woods and found sizeable clubs for each of them, hefty enough to deal a lethal blow.

The plan called for Leo to enter the corral through the spring-loaded gate with his weapon, and to disable the gate, leaving the gap open for the pig's use as it fled the blows from the wooden stick. Jarvis took a stance, not unlike Mickey Mantle's, right outside the gate, ready to peelay the fleeing hog. As you might have guessed, things inside the trap did not go as planned, and in the gathering dusk it was Leo who was forced to dive through the opening in the wall, not the hog. Jarvis nailed his friend just above the eyebrows and caved in the front of his skull. Leo survived, but just barely, and he wore the dent in his forehead and the name Pig Head, as of the last time I saw him. The guy who told me the story was unable to say what had become of the hog, who was, after all, responsible for the whole thing. Life is like that.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.

Last edited by vapros; 01-31-2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:53 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Tincup makes a bet

I probably posted this several years ago on this site, but it's a favorite of mine.

* * * * * * *

Darlene and Sheila were playing eight ball on table five, and playing it very poorly, as neither could play it any better. There were several sweaters seated nearby, only to watch Darlene move around the table. She was long-legged and well prepared for any wet tee shirt contest that might spring up. Tonight she wore denim short shorts that fit her is if she had grown up in them, stretched tight in every dimension. The assembled viewers wondered silently how she could possibly take them off and put them back on, but none of them would ever know. Sheila was what the merchants might call plus size, or even a bit more. She was not a contender; maybe an also-ran, at best. Darlene was her decoy.

When he could stand it no longer, Willy went to the counter and got a shop towel from Misty and returned to table five. As Darlene bent far over, stretching to reach the shot, Willy ran up behind her and tore the shop towel in half, making a loud ripping sound. Darlene went straight up like a bottle rocket, throwing the cue into the air, but she joined in the general mirth that followed. It was a normal Tuesday evening at Tincup Billiards.

The big snooker table by the door had a golf game going on; a game that threatened to become a riot at any moment. Also normal. The always obnoxious Rolly Rivet bullied the others, and seemed to be hoping for an excuse to push someone. He was big and loud, but he knew Tincup would ban him from the joint if he pushed people, so he didn't.

Tincup, himself, was playing nine ball with Tyler on table eight. Tyler needed the last four, but Tincup would give him only the call eight, and was collecting something after nearly every game. They argued baseball as they played, with constant insults and scornful comments about the other's favorite team. 'Cup loved the Yankees, Tyler was a Cardinals fan. A dozen cries of 'I'll bet you a hundred dollars' were offered and ignored.

Cup finally threw up his hands. “Yer a wussy, Tyler, and you don't want to gamble. You wouldn't take two to one that two big dogs could whup a little dog. Don't talk to me about bettin' a hundred dollars!”

“Tell you what, Cup, we'll see who won't gamble. I could offer a bet you can't lose, and you wouldn't take it.”

“Aw, I don't want yer money, Tyler,” said Tincup, who had been taking Tyler's money for the past two hours. “Don't offer anything stupid. It's your shot.”

“That's about what I figured, and if I make this bank, you'll prolly cry when you give me my ten dollars.” He missed the bank and lost again.

Another game passed, and Cup asked, very casually, “What were you gonna offer me?”

“Forget it,” said Tyler. “It was gambling, so it wasn't for such as you.”

“Yeah, but just out of curiosity, what was the proposition?”

“Well, I was gonna bet a hundred dollars that for the next fifteen games, I would add up all the Cardinals' runs, and you could multiply the Yankees' runs and try to keep up. I saved my hundred dollars by you not having the heart to take the bet.”

“Multiply, you say!?”

“Yep, that's it. Keep up a running total, multiply by the number of runs they make every day, and see who would have the most after fifteen games. Thank you for being a wussy.”

Tincup mentally projected the calculation through even four average games and the light suddenly hit him in his mind's eye. “It's a good thing you were only bumping your gums about that, 'cause I'd have been on that like a duck on a junebug.”

“Well then, you can still get it, unless you are feeling sort of faint.”

So the bet was made, and each gave Misty a C note to hold. Within fifteen minutes, Darlene knew about the bet, and Sheila and the entire bunch at the snooker table. Tyler won the next three games from Tincup, who was trying not to grin, and then headed for the door. Before he could get out, Rolly Rivet buttonholed him. “I don't guess you got another hundred to bet on that, do you?”

“Why not?” said Tyler, and Misty found herself holding two hundred more.
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Old 02-03-2017, 02:58 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Math class at Tincup U

Well, in the weekend games the Cardinals scored four, four and six runs, for a total of fourteen. In the Yankees' three games they made two runs and then six runs in each of the next two. When the multiplication was done, that came to seventy-two. Neither team had a Monday game, and when Tyler came in on Tuesday, Tincup had prepared a scoreboard on a large sheet of poster stock from Home Depot, and had it tacked up on the wall at Tincup Billiards. Cup and Rollie Rivet were both on hand to welcome Tyler.

Tincup said, “Well, Tyler, it ain't looking so good for your dog-ass Cardinals, is it?”

“So far,” responded Tyler, “the news is lousy. I should have known better than to put my foot in my mouth. The old lady and my two little girls might not eat much this month.”

“Aw, don't worry about them,” said Rollie. “Me and Tincup will make up a care package for your family. For two hundred bucks we can feed 'em pretty good. If old Tincup ain't screwed up the arithmetic, we're ahead by seventy-two to fourteen. We're gonna muttiply you right into the poorhouse. But just to show you my heart's in the right place, I'll take ninety-nine dollars right this minute. You can save a dollar. How about it?”

“I'll think about that. A dollar might come in handy.”

The Yankees played at home Tuesday night and erupted for nine runs. With a straight face, Tincup consulted his cell phone and updated the big board and showed 6498 in their column. Rollie Rivet amended his offer, and now offered Tyler a buyout for ninety-nine seventy-five. From the west coast came the news that the Padres had shut out the Cardinals by 4-0, and Rollie roared with laughter, a blast that filled the joint with a combination of garlic, Schlitz beer and cigar. “Cup, don't forget to add on that zero for the Cardinals. What's their score now? Still fourteen, you say – are you sure about that?” Tyler suffered and all the others smirked and wagged their heads.

When the Wednesday and Thursday games had been reported and recorded on the scoreboard, the Yankees column had reached 97,470. Tyler failed to show up at the joint either day. Then, on Friday the Indians blanked them, 2-0. Tincup posted the zero in their column, drew the line and repeated the huge total. The Cardinals total had reached twenty-one. As if by magic, Tyler came through the door on Saturday, and went to inspect Cup's math.

“Cup, what happened to the Yankees last night?”

“Well, Buddy, my boys hit a stump last night, and your Cardinals did a bit of catching up, but we still got a little lead on you. If you're here to negotiate with me and Rollie, we might consider an offer, but it will have to be pretty good. This here ain't no welfare office, you know.”

“Tincup, I just checked your poster, and I see that you neglected to do your multiplication today.” Tyler walked over the to the scoreboard and took the marker and crossed out the huge figure and replaced it with a big round zero.

“Wait just a minute, there! You can't muttiply by no zero,” Rollie howled. “What the hell are you trying to do, anyway?”

“Lemme tell you something, baby boy,” said Tyler. “Multiplying by zero is the easiest multiplying you can do, because the answer is always zero, like I just wrote down over there. You must'a slept through the third grade.”

Tincup was struck dumb, and he stared at the board with his jaw hanging open. He turned and appealed to Sidney, who figured to know about such things. Sidney spread his hands and indicated that Tyler was correct. Tyler went to the counter and asked Misty to give him the four hundred dollar stake she was holding, but Rollie was having none of that and hollered that Misty should hold on to the money.

“Take it easy, Rollie, and don't get excited,” said Cup. “This is only for the first six games. We can start over tomorrow and run the score up again. Tyler thinks he is putting something over on us with his gimmick bet, but he's messing with the wrong people. Just wait.”

Tyler looked at both of them and said, “No, you can't start over, either. According to the bet, you multiply today's score by the running total, and carry the new total over. The running total is now zero and it's gonna stay zero. If your Yankees make twenty-seven runs tomorrow, when you multiply that by zero, the answer is gonna be another zero. Get used to it.”

Tincup could see the light. He knew Sidney was right and Tyler had beaten him. Rollie was another matter, however. He was screaming like a stuck pig. “You're trying to cheat us, Tyler, with a crooked bet. You set us up. You're stealing from your best friends, and if you take that money nobody will ever speak to you again. Shame on you!”

“It never was a crooked bet, Rollie. I was betting on a shutout – just one shutout. If they scored every day, you and Cup would win by ten million, and don't try to tell me you wouldn't have taken my money. You both took the bet thinking you were stealing, and you're getting what you deserve. I will damn' sure get the cash from Misty, and if you two are my best friends I just might go and jump into the river instead of going home. Have a nice day.” He went to the counter and no one objected when Misty began feeling around in her bosom. “Lemme help you with that,” said Tyler. “No, I got it,” she said and gave him the four C notes. He gave her a twenty from his pocket, and gave the crowd a little two-finger salute as he left.

“I can't say nothing,” said Tincup. “I sure figured I was stealing. But at least I showed him I got some gamble, didn't I?”

“Oh, hell yeah,” said Rollie Rivet. “You're a gambling motor scooter, you are. And I must be brain dead to think you had something I wanted in on. I was all set to help you rob poor ol' Tyler.”

Misty waved the twenty Tyler had given her. “Maybe you Einsteins learned something today at Tincup University. Come on, I'm buying milk and cookies for all the freshmen.”
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:43 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Houma, Louisiana

Bowling came to my home town, Houma, Louisiana, in 1945, just before the end of the war. Ten lanes in a new building in the first block of Barrow Street, just forty-five steps off Main. I was thirteen years old that year and I wanted to bowl, so I went into the pits and racked pins several nights each week. We made .08 a game. A league match (two five man teams on a pair of lanes) produced thirty games, or $2.40. Billy Romero and Junius Navarre could, and did, handle two pairs of lanes routinely, but that was mighty hard work. I did it a few times. Let me note here that in other areas of the country, 'pinboys' were paid a little better, and there were individuals that made a life's work back in the pits. Indoor labor in the winter time, in Wisconsin maybe, was better than a lot of other jobs.

The job required that at the end of the evening I had to walk home, and the trip was about three miles, and half of it was on the Dug Road, that had no illumination of any kind. The neighborhood was black, but I rarely saw any one, and most of the houses were already dark by the time I passed. No reason to be afraid, anyway. I did get to know several of the dogs, who would trot out to the road to be sure it was just me out there, hoofin' it to the house. If the weather was bad, one of the bowlers might drive me home. I said 'might'.

Later I graduated to the job of foul judge, and that paid three bucks, which you could earn sitting on your butt. I climbed a ladder to a perch above the lanes, right at the foul line, and I had a kitchen chair and a board with a switch for each of the ten lanes. If you crossed the line I rang you up - red light and buzzer. Some nights I was in no hurry for the desk guy to bring the ladder for me to get down, and it was rare for a bowler to drive a foul judge home at the end of the evening. No air conditioning in 1945 and south Louisiana is very humid, so the approaches would be damp and sliding was impossible. Big disadvantage in bowling, and some fouls were pretty violent and perhaps painful.

Terrebonne High School class of 1948 – that was me, and my first full time job began that summer. Old Ashby Pettigrew built the new and upscale Pettigrew Hotel on Main Street, and I was his very first night clerk. The Pettigrews lived in a big house out on Bayou Black, and they brought some of their antique furniture to give a bit of class to the lobby, which was two stories high. And there was an elevator. The place had more than forty rooms and I believe the going rate was $3.50; $3.57 with tax. I worked the desk from eleven in the evening until seven in the morning, seven days each week, for $20.00. Bowling money.

Pettigrew and his wife appeared most mornings around 6:30. He generally had a cold cigar in his mouth, and before long he would brush off the burnt end and put the whole thing in his mouth and chew it. His wife loved to make the wake-up calls on my list. She would sit at the little switchboard and ring the phone in the room. When it was answered she would screech 'time to get up' and break the connection.

Recalling that little switchboard, through which all calls had to come, it was part of my duties to keep track of the charges for the long distance calls, and to update the bill before check out. Somewhere between two and three in the morning I would call the long distance operator at the local phone office, and verify my record with hers. The usual contact was with a young lady with a very sexy voice. I don't think I ever knew her name, but things were pretty slow for both of us at that hour, and we would kill some time in private romance. This was before phone sex reared its bulbous head in my life, but it could get a bit steamy now and then. Until she found out that I was sixteen years old. I didn't even get to kiss her goodbye. I left the Pettigrew Hotel to go to work offshore, as deckhand on a boat. Couldn't turn down $150 a month. Ten days in the marsh, four days at home.

I seldom had to walk home from that gig. I could use the family car, because knocking off at seven am I was able to get it home before my dad needed it to go to work. I had turned fifteen years old in 1947, and during that year the state of Louisiana either passed a driver's license law or began to enforce the one they already had – I'm not sure which. Practically no Louisiana driver had a license, and it was out of the question to try to test them all, so they issued licenses to everyone who was already driving, as I was. At the tender age of fifteen, I was grandfathered in, and I'm still untested.

One of the deYeide brothers opened a donut shop on Main Street, right next to the new Pettigrew Hotel. It was all glossy white and stainless steel, and there was an automatic donut machine right in the big glass window in front. Donut batter to greasy delicious donut in about four or five minutes. For the first month there was usually a crowd on the sidewalk, watching the wonderful machine in action. Over the door was a vent, with a little fan blowing outward, and the smell of fresh donuts was a powerful force. After mass on Sunday, at the big St. Francis de Sales church, the trade was fierce for an hour. Characters in the western novels of a writer I follow refer to donuts as 'bear sign'. Is anyone on this site familiar with bear sign? Does it really look like donuts?

There was a big shrimp plant right on the batture on East Main Street. The batture is the strip of land between a road and a bayou. The shrimp boats would come right up Bayou Terrebonne to the shrimp plant with their catch, and each arrival was cause for an urgent call for workers to come on the double. It might be any hour of the day or night, the horn would sound – like a big fog horn, only it went on and on, without letup. It might blow for ten minutes without stopping, and if it was at night one could see lights appearing in houses and workers in the roads and streets, hot footing it to the plant to make some cash. It was a part of life in Houma, and no one thought to complain. I can close my eyes and hear it now.

All the companies with business in the oil fields in the marsh or offshore set up their warehouses in Houma. It was the last of the high ground. Elevation of maybe five feet above sea level. Cajun music and cajun dancing had many fans, but a lot of the people were honte (embarrassed) about it, and drove to other towns to enjoy it. Boiled crabs were the fare on Friday nights. Catholic town, no meat on Friday. I don't recall anyone eating crawfish in those days. Our post office box number was 470. My girlfriend's phone number was 5722. My favorite bowling ball was number 188C0. The human mind is a very strange place.

These are some of the things that make Houma unique in my recollection. I suppose all home towns are unique.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.

Last edited by vapros; 02-08-2017 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:38 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Missing Person

Missing Person is a slice of life story. It's not my life and probably not yours, so you might find it interesting – or not. There's no blood, no sex, no jokes and no moral at the end. Just a slice of life from the marsh, in 2,941 words. Feel free.


“Deputy, you in there?”

“I'm here, Victoria. Come on in. I'm just before closing up the office and going home. What brings you out?”

“Missing person case for y'all.”

“Druby again, most likely – is that it?”

“Druby again, you got that right. Day before yesterday he left, and I hadn't seen him since.”

“What makes you think something has happened to him?”

“I ain't seen him, that's what happened to him. I need for y'all to find him for me.”

“Victoria, you ain't seen Druby for two days, and he's a grown man and he ain't really your husband, anyway. This ain't no missing person case. It's a fugitive case. Druby has took off for a couple days, is all. Domestic matter.”

“So. Y'all are going to find Druby, or you're not?”

“We're not, Victoria. Come back when he's been gone a week and you got reason to believe something has happened to him, or he's broke a law. Just 'cause you want him found is not a legal reason for us to saddle up and go look.”

“I tried to call him a lot of times already, and he don't answer. I figure that means something has happened to him.”

“Victoria, maybe Druby don't want to talk to you right now. When he's ready, maybe he will call you up and then y'all can talk. Or maybe he will just show up at the trailer like nothing happened.”

“Well, maybe it's not the law, but he's supposed to talk to me when I call. Maybe when he does call, I might not want to talk to him, by that time. How about that?”

“I hear you, Victoria, but that wouldn't be my business. That's you and Druby. Work it out for your own selfs.”

“Well, Deputy John Law, if I don't hear nothin' from Druby tomorrow, I'm sending Luke and Sostan to find him, and that will be his ass; don't worry about it. Them two will do your work for you while you sit on your butt.”

“I'm making a note, Victoria. You go on home.”

Weldon Braud turned off the department radio and computer and turned out the light. He stood in the doorway of the little trailer office and watched Victoria walking away in her rubber flip-flops. It was slow going in the loose gravel. She was on the downside of forty and on the wrong side of two hundred twenty pounds, and the rubber shoes did nothing to improve the sight. He wondered why Druby would come back to Victoria at all. He shrugged and locked the door and fired up his patrol unit and took the drive out to the hard road. After a pause, instead of turning left to his own trailer in the little community of Foster Canal, he turned right and took the Little Bayou Go To Hell road. The map said Colyell, but the people said Go To Hell.

He wanted to talk to Luke and Sostan before Victoria did. Sostan's right name was Celestin, but few people knew that. He had been Sostan since before he could walk, and he and Luke were Victoria's brothers. Braud turned off the road onto a long driveway that stopped just before the marsh. There were two small houses on his left and a workshop on his right. It was open on both ends and there was a small Lafitte skiff on a boat trailer in the shop. Luke and Sostan were loading some stuff onto the boat. They watched him approach.

“Comment ca va, bro?” called Luke. He shook Weldon's hand. “How 'bout if I read your mind, cuz? You're looking for Druby Benoit.”

“Not exactly, man. I'm looking for you and Sostan. Victoria came to the office to tell me that if she don't hear from Druby tomorrow she's going to send you guys to go and get him, and I don't want to see nothing happen.”

“She's a day late, bro. We just fixin' to dump the boat and go see Druby today. He's making a shrimp stew. You can come if you want.”

“You know where he's at?”

“Yeah, we know. Everybody knows but Victoria. Druby's at a camp and he's making a shrimp stew and me and Sostan is taking some beer, and we're gonna get us some stew this evening. Druby can cook, bro, and we got room in the boat, no shit, and you mo' than welcome.”

“Did you know that Victoria was looking for him?”

Both brothers chuckled. “Well, we know Druby's at the camp for a couple of days already, so you can bet your ass Victoria is looking for him. Night follows day, you know what I mean?”

“I could eat some good shrimp stew,” said the deputy.

“That's where we going, bro. Watch your feet, there – we fixin' to dump the boat.”

Luke checked the drain plug at the stern, and Sostan backed up a pickup truck into the shop and they connected the trailer to the truck, and backed up another thirty feet. The wheels went into the water and the cradle tilted backward and the skiff slid into the bayou. “I hope you holdin' the line, bro, or somebody gon' have to swim.”

“I got it, Luke. Comin' in wit' it.” Braud hauled on the rope and the skiff swung around and nosed up into the marsh grass by their feet.

Luke climbed in over the bow and let the big Yamaha motor down into the water on pneumatic shocks. He turned the key and the motor started quickly and idled softly. Sostan drove the truck forward and left the trailer in its original position. “Go 'head,” he said. “I'll get on last, I got my boots on.” Braud climbed onto the bow and over the windshield and Sostan, standing in the shallow water, gave the boat a shove and hoisted himself aboard by his big arms. Thirty seconds later they were cruising slowly down Little Bayou Go To Hell, careful to make no wake until they had passed all the moored vessels. From there on, it was wide open, and the brothers grinned at one another and turned their caps around backward, so the Deputy did the same. The glass would certainly have kept them out of the wind, but they sat on the backs of the seats and took the rushing air in their faces, bending forward only to light cigarettes.

They passed two luggers without slowing down, waving at the crews on the decks, and then made a right turn into a canal. Sostan smirked at Luke, noting the alarm showing on the Deputy's face as the boat seemed about to slide off into the marsh, gaining traction again and leaping forward. Right turns didn't offer the same firm control as turns to the left. Fifteen minutes took them five miles into the 'sea of grass'. Braud had long-since lost his way. He was from Houma and this was not his part of the salt marsh.

They passed two or three empty camps, on stilts or on pontoons, and suddenly they turned at idle speed into a canal that was little more than a ditch, and there was Druby Benoit sitting on the porch of a tiny building mounted on a small barge hull. There was a dock of sorts, where a fourteen foot aluminum bateau was tied. It had a small outboard mounted on the transom; shroud removed, uncertain maker. Probably an Evinrude, as the blue paint could still be seen. Sostan stepped onto the dock and tied the line to a stake sticking out of the water and Luke cut the motor.

“Qui ca dit, brudd'n-law?” said Druby, without getting up.

“I smell shrimps, brudd'n-law,” said Luke.

“Oh, I got shrimps. And you better pick up your motor, too. I see you brought the law wit' you. I'm trying to think which crime he might know about.

“He ain't workin', he knocks off at five. He smelled shrimps, too. Look at him. He's young and single and got a steady job, and I couldn't leave him there with my wife, you know, so I brought him. You better have plenty shrimp.” Luke thumbed a button on the dash, and the big motor tilted forward, bringing the propeller clear of the water.

“Yeah, but I'm out of beer. I hope you brought beer.”

“The boat's full of beer,” said Sostan, “we're lucky it didn't sink on the way, with all the beer.” He lifted a hefty ice chest onto the porch and passed around the beers. The quartet of Cajuns sat on the porch, as best they could; a couple on overturned five gallon plastic buckets and one on the ice chest. Druby still had not gotten to his feet. The little porch sagged under the weight. They smoked and drank beer and made small talk in a combination of English and French.

Druby pointed out across the marsh grass to a shrimp lugger chugging along. It was one of the ones they had passed earlier, and it was still in the main bayou, maybe two hundred yards away as the crow would fly. Most of it was plainly visible, including the name on the bow – 'Little Brother'. The grass in the salt water did not grow higher than about two feet.

“Maybe an eight' of a mile away,” said Druby, “but maybe three miles by water. I see the boats pass every day, goin' and comin'. Sometimes they wave, but they couldn't none of 'em get to this place. They don't know how. That's how I like it.” He looked at the Deputy.

“Hey, man, don't worry about me. I wouldn't tell, even if I could. I thought Sostan was lost two or three times. I know I was.”

Druby stood up and entered the little camp and walked to and fro, serving huge amounts of shrimp stew over rice on assorted china plates, with heavy metal forks. Duke brought two loaves of French bread from the boat, and they tore great ragged chunks. They ate with great appetite, smacking their lips and wagging their heads over the delicious meal. Dusk was beginning to fall by the time they had finished, and they all leaned back and lit cigarettes and smoked in silence.

Finally Duke spoke, but without turning his head to look at Druby. “Brudd'n-law, you got any messages for Victoria?” The silence continued for several minutes.

Druby commented, “Look at that red-wing blackbird on the other side. He's got a very pretty call, him, and I love to hear it, me. He's got him a grip on that roseau with them little toes, and he's getting him a nice ride.” The reed waved in the wind, making an elliptical orbit for the bird. “Nonc Benny wants me to go shrimp wit' him this year. I 'magine I'll do that, mos' likely.”

“You goin' wit' him, on the 'Baby Ruth'?”

There was another silence before Druby spoke again. “I 'magine I will. You know?”

“You know why nobody don't want to go wit' him, Druby? Sometime Nonc Benny goes on the outside with that little flat-bottom boat. One day the weather is gonna catch him out there and him and his little flat-bottom boat gon' go turtle, man. Bottom up.”

Druby shrugged. “Maybe not.”

“Where you gon' stay, Brudd'n-law?”

“On the boat. In the camp, here,” he explained, and then repeated. “On the boat, in the camp.” Neither man had faced the other throughout the exchange. “Look at me, Brudd'n-law. I'm good. I'm good where I'm at. Ol' Guillot is all but dead, and I can use the camp as much as I want. Nonc Benny feels good when I'm on the boat – he can leave it and go home to Houma when he wants, and he won't worry about the boat. So I'm good, you know? On the boat, in the camp, in the camp, on the boat, I'm good where I'm at.”

“That's what you want me to tell Victoria?”

“I already told her. I told her on Saturday. Victoria knows.”

A full moon was rising, and so were the mosquitoes, and they all moved into the camp, which had tight screens on the windows. A Coleman lantern burned on the table. Druby covered the pot of rice and moved the pot of stew into the ice chest with the beer. Both were still half full. Braud began to wonder about the trip back to the landing. “We goin' back by moonlight?”

“Deputy,” said Sostan, “we ain't goin' nowhere until the tide turns. In an hour they won't be fo' inches of water in this canal. We'll catch the tide in the morning, after it turns. All this pretty water in the marsh ain't nothin' but a mud flat when the tide is out. People who don't know about that can spend a lot time out here, sittin' on the bottom and waiting for the next tide. If you come into the marsh, you better know the tide.”

Everyone settled in for the night. There was one spare folding cot, and the brothers insisted that Braud take it. They slept on the floor, on pallets of well-worn quilts. Braud wanted to take off his uniform, but he was unwilling to be the only one undressing. They all slept well until the sun was turning the sky orange across Little Bayou Go To Hell. Luke was first up and made coffee and pulled Honey Buns from a Walmart bag. Druby went out onto the porch and reported that it would be another forty minutes before the skiff floated again, so they sat on the porch and smoked and talked about people and events foreign to Braud. The water level in the canal rose as they watched it. Shrimp boats and work boats passing in the bayou, two hundred yards away, sent their wakes through the marsh grass, wakes that were little more than faint ripples as they reached Druby's little canal. There was no more mention of Victoria.

The trip back to the little workshop went quickly and without much conversation. Luke gave the skiff a sudden burst of power that drove it into the grass, and then he cut the motor. Victoria was at the landing, leaning against a vintage Cutlass Supreme and smoking. There was no sign of the brothers' wives. “Y'all seen Druby?” she challenged.

“We seen him,” said Luke. “We spent the night at Druby.”

“He didn't come back witch'all?”

“Druby said he's good where he's at. He said he told you Saturday.”

“Well, I guess he did, but I just wanted to know, you know? I guess I'll go back to Morgan City.”

“Richie still there?”

“Yeah, he's there. I talked to him today.”

“Looks like that's the thing to do, well. Don't leave me no mess, Victoria. You pick up good, inside and outside, you hear?”

“Well, Baby, I'm gonna need me some gas money,” she was speaking to Sostan's back. With a small nod toward Luke, he redirected her attention. Luke gave her twenty dollars from his wallet and she turned her attention back to Sostan, getting another ten. She sighed and lit another cigarette and returned to the elderly Oldsmobile. It started quickly but was in serious need of a muffler.

She turned around in the yard and was gone. Luke and Sostan were loading the skiff back onto the trailer and back into the shop. They began to remove items from it. Braud wondered how he might help. He was being ignored.

“I'm glad you come wit' us, Deputy. That was some good shrimp stew, you think?”

“Oh yeah, Luke. I'm glad y'all brought me out there. That was some good shrimp stew.”

A brief association was ended, dismissed with only a small motion of Luke's head. Or maybe it was his shoulder. Hard to tell, from behind.

Deputy Weldon Braud hesitated for three seconds and shrugged and turned to his own pickup truck with the Sheriff's Department decals on the doors. Instead of turning in the yard, be backed out the driveway to the hard road and went left toward his little office on the edge of Foster Canal. It occurred to him that he had never been to the end of the Little Bayou Go To Hell road. Make a note, he told himself, it couldn't be far. He decided he could wait until noon to go to his trailer for a fresh uniform. Or maybe the one he had slept in would be okay for today. Even money he would see no one before quitting time.

He stretched and climbed the two steps, made of cinder blocks, and unlocked the door and turned on the light. He made coffee on the counter and then powered up the department radio and the computer on his desk. Nothing from the Sheriff this morning, and only a couple of personal emails on the PC. Searching through the program, he found the form he was looking for and brought it up. On the proper line, in all caps, he typed 'Missing Person'. After a moment he rose from the desk and went to a window, staring out across the salt marsh. He stood motionless there, pondering the words he should use.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:28 PM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Claudine's

Sometimes I find myself thinking that there's not as much nostalgia as there used to be, but of course that's not possible. The truth is that I forget. I have forgotten a lot, and that's not good. Here is something, however, that I remember. Bear (bare?) with me for a minute.

In a south Louisiana town near where I grew up – very near – there was a brick house, two stories tall, with green and white aluminum awnings over the windows, right on the main drag, but set well back from the street.. There was a shady front yard with big oak trees, and a painted concrete statue of Little Red Riding Hood, carrying her little basket. Behind a nearby oleander bush there was a statue of the Big Bad Wolf, lurking. The driveway curved around the house to a parking area, out of sight in the rear. I went by every day on my way to the junior college where I was . . . well, enrolled at least.

I don't know if any of it can still be seen, but it all stood for a long time. The house was known as Claudine's – just Claudine's. It was quite a well-known place, and not only locally. A great many men throughout the South knew the place, and many of them had visited. It was open for many years. Inside the house, I am told, there were attractive young ladies in short shorts who generally lounged around or helped out behind the bar now and then. Claudine, herself, was pretty much retired by about 1950, and she strolled around the premises now and then, just to have something to do and to be seen by those who had come to see her. The ones who knew said that Claudine had been a knockout in her time.

The actual administration of Claudine's was mostly handled by a gentleman named Charlie Montalbano, who was not only the bouncer, but also the bookkeeper. At intervals during the evening, one or another of the young ladies could be seen climbing the stairs, with a man in tow, and without fail she would sing out “Mark me, Charlie. I'm going upstairs.” This might have been a bit disconcerting to some of the men, but no matter. It could not be avoided. The girls needed to be sure that Charlie heard and noted. We must assume that Charlie made an appropriate note in his Blue Horse composition book. If I can recall the reports of others, the going rate was three dollars, (no gross comments here, if you please) and Claudine's was a going concern. Not all gentlemen were welcome there – only the ones with three dollars.

Almost traditionally, young boys in their teens might be initiated into the world of grownup men with a visit to Claudine's, perhaps financed by their fathers or near-kin. The occasional freebie might even be involved, bestowed by a smirking girl. Women cannot possibly know the excitement and anticipation that is attendant upon such a rite, for a youngster. Bug-eyed and breathing hard, I'm told that some even failed to make it to the top of the stairs. How mortifying that must have been.

But this is all beside the point and happened a long time ago and it is all hearsay, of course. I sat down tonight to relate the matter of the battle cry: “Mark Me, Charley!” Everyone I knew was aware of the origin and the significance of that phrase, and few days passed without hearing it at least once on the streets of my home town. Many women knew, also. Some thought it was funny, and some did not. It just occurred to me to wonder if any of them had ever climbed the stairs at Claudine's. We will never know. More than just a smidgen of domestic discord might be attributed to those words.

In those days, before cell phones and internet, the widespread distribution of the phrase is truly amazing. One must wonder. Personally, I have heard it shouted by a bookmaker in Dallas, as the Steelers scored with time running out. I have heard it delivered by a bowler in Memphis who had just thrown a crucial strike. A Blackjack player in Gulfport made the announcement as he caught his ace and pumped his fist. Even a lady, out of sight in an examination room in a Mobile clinic, was heard to appeal to this famous Charlie. Without exception it was a cry of exultation and accomplishment, never invoked by a losing shmuck.

This is the stuff of genuine nostalgia. Claudine and Charlie have long since made the transition, as have all but the hardiest of the three dollar sporting congregation. I assume that I have offended no one with this reverie. If anything at all has survived the years, it might well be Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Someone with commendable foresight may have rescued them, and perhaps they might be in view somewhere else, if one only knew where to look. I will have to ask. The generation that would recognize them, what's left of it, would instantly smile and mouth the words. I have no idea how long it has been since I heard the triumphant cry that once was music to Claudine's ears. There was an unconfirmed report that it was the final utterance of a man seated firmly in the electric chair.

Mark me, Charlie! I'm going upstairs.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:18 PM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Shame on me

On Labor Day weekend in 1960, Sugar Lanes opened, just a block off La 1 in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Twelve lanes, shiny new AMF equipment. Bad judgment. Anybody in the business could have told them that if you can't build at least sixteen lanes, don't bother. You already have everything you need in the building, requiring only a little more air conditioning. The staff is there, the snack bar and the beer and all that you need for lane maintenance, the rest rooms and the insurance coverage, all on hand on opening day. You might net a few nickels in a small house, but at peak times you will wish you had six more lanes.

An opening is inevitably chaotic. The public crowds into the concourse and they all want to bowl. The hired help is not ready to deal with all of it. The a/c is straining to keep up, and is making ice. The pinspotters are not yet broken in, and are causing trouble on most of the lanes. Some customers are unhappy, for their various reasons. The nine stockholders in the corporation are all on hand, and making things worse.

The manager, a salesman of industrial products for the past twenty years, went tits up. He went into the office Sunday night, locked the door and refused to come out. Mike Jones, corporation president, called me at home in Baton Rouge at 9:30 pm, in a panic. I was available, and agreed to go down and keep it going for a month, while they found another manager. I checked into a motel and took a deep breath and stayed sixteen years, which is another story.

Vice president of the outfit was a mortician named Doug Walker, a fine and sensitive guy who was dedicated to his craft. He owned the largest and best funeral home in Lafourche Parish. I seldom saw him when he was not in dress shirt and tie, and often in the whole black suit. Doug carried a flask in his hip pocket, but there was no liquor in it – it was mouthwash. He went to it often, and sometimes I think of him today when I see the dippers with their spit cups. Doug could have used a big spit cup. He scurried around hunting a place to spit.

Twice in the space of a month, he experienced the very worst thing that can happen to a funeral director, and it nearly killed him. A casket failed, and dumped a corpse out on the ground, once right on his front lawn. I don't know how he survived it.

Every two or three months, Mike and Doug and I would get together, usually at Mike's house. He was a pediatrician, and had a room set up in which he saw his after-hours patients. He went to bed early and didn't like to go out at night. We would sit in there and I would make my little 'state of the lanes' report, and we would talk business for a little while and then sit around and have a beer. It was in that room that I had one of the worst experiences of my life. I hate to remember it.

After one such meeting, as we were discussing nothing in particular, Mike looked at me and said, “Well, Bill, it just seems that the bottom is falling out of everything.” I stared at him, probably with my jaw hanging open. I couldn't believe he had said it. As I looked at him, he took a drink of his beer and then began to laugh. I looked at Doug, and he was in agony, but Mike was still laughing. For some reason I will never understand, his laugh was contagious, and I began to laugh in spite of myself. Doug was crying quietly, suffering at the hands of a couple of his friends. Good friends, as you can see.

My laugh fed off Mike's laugh, and vice versa. I'm not talking about chuckling. Far from it. This was the kind of laughing that brings tears to your eyes and makes you gasp for breath. We both wanted to quit, but we could not. It was terrible. When we were able to stop it, the respite was never more than ten seconds. One of us would have to laugh and it would all begin again. I'm not sure how long it went on; surely less than eight or ten minutes, but it seemed like a long time. Can you imagine being horribly ashamed of yourself and unable to stop laughing, all at the same time? Later, Mike correctly blamed himself for starting it, but where was my contrition? There was none.

At some point, Doug stopped crying and got mad. “If y'all weren't my friends, I'd pick up something and hit y'all,” he said. I wish he had. It would have made me feel better. The three minutes of absolute silence, in which we called off the session and headed out, did nothing to mitigate the disaster. It was total. There were no more such meetings for about a year.

My story has a punch line, and here it is: in the car on the way home, I burst out laughing again, without knowing why. Is that weird?
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:34 AM
vapros vapros is online now
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Default Head Shot 1

Two deputies in a green and white cruiser showed up at my place one day. They were looking for Tom John. I could have showed them if I wanted, because I know where he's at. I put him there. Let me tell you up front that I don't like lying, and I avoid it when I can. I know people who will lie if you ask for the time, but I'm not that way. I only lie when I need to. I'll tell you how it went, and you should notice how hard I tried to stick to the truth.

“Mr. Deakin, do you know Tom John?”

“Oh, yeah, I know him.”

“How long since you seen him?”

“Well, he was here just a few days ago.”

“Is Mr. John a friend of yours?”

“Not hardly, he's a sorry piece of shit and I should of shot him in the head the first time I seen him.”

“Why did he come here, Mr. Deakin, if he wasn't your friend?”

“We got a couple common interests and we needed to talk and get something straightened out. I drove to Bonham a couple of weeks ago, and I missed him, so he came here.” I neglected to tell them that I know Mrs. John much better than I know Tom.

“What was your business?”

“Well, I got me some wooded property over that way, and I give him permission to go in and pick up the down stuff and cut firewood and send me half. So I had to nag him, and I finally got a check for thirty dollars, and then I found out he was lumbering in there; cutting down my good trees for the mill. It's a good thing I didn't find him when I went over there.”

“Mr. John come over here two days ago, and he come to see you, and ain't nobody seen him since. His wife reported him missing. We thought you might know where he's at.”

“Well, he was here, but he ain't here now, and I don't see how I could help you. Maybe his wife has got lucky.”

“What was he driving, Mr. Deakin?”

“He had him a white F-150 pickup and it looked like it was about ragged out. You'll know it if you see it. A lot of rust and Bondo and primer.”

“You expect to see him again?”

“No, and I hope I don't. Tom's nothing to me but bad news. We just had a couple of things to get worked out.”

“Okay, Mr. Deakin, let us know if you see him or hear from him.”

“Sure, maybe you could leave a card with your number.” So this caught 'em unprepared; you know, like a business card? Neither of them had shit, but the skinny one went back to the unit and rummaged around and finally came back with one of the Sheriff's cards. It had mustard stains on it (I hope) and the number was scratched out, and another number wrote in. They left it with me, and hitched up their gun belts and drove away. I remember thinking, if they ever get into a shooting scrape, I hope I get to see it.

Reading back through this story, I believe I went through the whole routine without a single lie. Did you notice? It's an art; they should teach it in school. Or maybe they do, like in Harvard or Yale, you know?

Well, Tom John had been to my place, and he was not there now, just like I told the deputies. So, where was he? Day before yesterday, I'm sitting in the front of the lean-to where I keep my little plywood skiff, and I'm having me a smoke, and I see this raggedy-ass Ford pickup going by slow on the road, and the driver is taking him a good look at my house. Then, he spots me over to the side, and he turns his face away and speeds away toward town. This is what I was talking about when I said he had been to my place. He had drove by, slow. It's Tom John, I was pretty sure, but I had to know, so I put my shoes on and got my own truck and followed after him.

That ugly pickup was parked at the Dollarooney, and I set up down the street a block to watch. Sure enough, it was ol' Tom – I got a good look when he limped back to his ride. I knew one thing for sure; there wasn't but one reason for him to be in Cutman, and that was me. I went straight home and had me a drink. Than I had another drink. I been knowing Tom John a long time, and I knew he had not come to town to wish me well. I just had to decide what to do about him. In the end, it was not so hard to make a plan.

I went camo, and bundled up my sleeping bag and a mosquito bar and some stuff to eat and a big thermos of hot coffee. Then I slicked up my .223 rifle and some shells and as soon as it was dark I climbed up the hill behind my house, crossing the old road I figured he would come in on. I picked out a good spot above the road and set up my little camp. It was just before daybreak when he showed up, still driving that old wreck of a pickup truck. He was on the old road and he parked and got out and limped around a few minutes and then he got a rifle with a scope out of the truck and hiked down toward the house. He went almost to the very edge of the woods, and set up a shot of about a hundred fifty yards and downhill. There wasn't any doubt what I had to do, and I followed him and dug in just as he did. My shot would be only about sixty yards, and I didn't need no scope. My iron sights would do fine.

I lay down behind a log and watched Tom John until the light got good. It give me a funny feeling, looking at him. His ass was mine, just any time I wanted it, and I guess he was feeling the same way about me, looking down at my house. Two or three times I seen him fidget a little, and turn his head to see in all directions. One might almost think he could feel me looking at him. I never considered no amnesty for him – if I didn't do this today, I would have it to do tomorrow, unless he did me first. I hope he enjoyed the sunrise, because it was his last one. Here you go, Tommy Boy.
If it ain't funny, it ain't much.
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